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The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama

The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama is a performance space situated at the heart of the University of Manchester’s campus. The Centre offers students a fantastic space in which to study and perform, as well as hosting many professional musicians, performers and prize-winning authors. It provides an excellent space for contemporary and classic theatre, music and comedy events, and holds a reading series that has in the past featured such literary luminaries as Martin Amis, Will Self, John Banville and Clive James.

Updated:
20 July 2018
Location:
North West
Sectors:
Arts, Children Young People and Students, Education Sector
Local Alliances:
Manchester Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

As a place of education and a public arts venue, we have an important role to play. We must be open and inclusive; and we must show an understanding of the needs of those who learn, visit and work at the Martin Harris Centre. In order to do this we are working on a 3 pronged approach that will deliver a better outcome for those living with dementia, their carers and in turn all those who come to the MHC. We hope to make all staff and students Dementia Friends (particularly those in public facing roles). We are looking at how we can make our venue a more dementia friendly environment. We are considering how we can make our events and our programme of events more dementia friendly. We are collaborating with other Manchester cultural partners, community groups, individual local professionals and with University research initiatives to achieve these goals. We see our own actions and these collaborations as a crucial step toward helping our society to live well with dementia.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Challenges include: breaking down people's negative ideas relating to dementia, which might prove a barrier to achieving our goals; having time available to run enough Dementia Friends Information sessions to include all those we want to; balancing our day job (student education) with our planned events programme, so that all activities are accommodated; identifying what we can practically do with our events and events programme to make it more dementia friendly; making a fairly dementia unfriendly environment into a dementia friendly environment, as we are a bustling, busy place with a lot of glass! It is also challanging to network in the right areas and we have to hope that people are able to spare time in their own busy schedules to offer information, ideas and support. All challenges but none insurmountable! 

2. Actions

  • Staff commitment to becoming a dementia friendly arts venue.

    For all visitor-facing staff (Receptionist, administration team, FoH Managers, stewards, box office, cafe and House Services) to have attended a Dementia Friends information session by Summer 2019.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2018 - Third Quarter Update

    Further Dementia Friends have been created over the last 12 months. These DF sessions were aimed at staff and students in the Martin Harris Centre (primarily those in a public facing role). We continue to celebrate our Dementia Friendly work on our social media platforms. Our next objective is to target new students joining the University in September; and also volunteers who will be involved in a planned relaxed performance, scheduled for December. We hope to continue to increase our Dementia Friends total.

    2017 - First Quarter Update

    Following 3 further Dementia Friends information sessions between January and March 2017, we have now created a total of 79 Dementia Friends since Jan 2016. Two of these were aimed at staff and students in the Martin Harris Centre (primarily those in a public facing role). The third session was for Professional Support Services Staff in our School (The School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester.) We wanted to share with our colleagues the work we've been doing and spread the intiative more widely.  As ever, we continue to celebrate our Dementia Friendly work on our social media platforms. Our next objective is to target staff and students who will be involved in a planned relaxed performance scheduled for June; and to continue to increase our Dementia Friends total.

    2016 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Our Dementia Friends Champion has run another 2 Dementia Friends information sessions between October and December 2016. These were aimed at staff and students in the Martin Harris Centre (primarily those in a public facing role). However, this time we were even more focused and targeted staff and students volunteering for our first ever relaxed performance. We have now created a total of 58 Dementia Friends since Jan 2016; and have continued to celebrate our Dementia Friendly work on our social media platforms. Our next objective is to role out the Dementia Friends message to the rest of our School and beyond!

    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    Our Dementia Friends Champion has run 4 Dementia Friends information sessions between March and September 2016. These were aimed at staff and students in the Martin Harris Centre (primarily those in a public facing role). We have created 36 Dementia Friends to date; and have been celebrating this on our social media platforms. We took part in World Alzheimer's Day on 21st September; running a DF info session and sharing through our e-newsletters, on our Facebook page and via Twitter. We hope to make more progress over the next 3 months, now that the staff and students are back from vacation!

    2016 - Second Quarter Update

    Our Dementia Friends Champion has run 3 Dementia Friends information sessions between March and May 2016. These were aimed at staff and students in the Martin Harris Centre (primarily those in a public facing roll). We have created 31 Dementia Friends to date; and have been celebrating this on our social media platforms. We took part in Dementia Awareness week in May; running a DF info session and sharing DAW2016 information through our e-newsletters, on our Facebook page and via Twitter.

    We look forward to running more sessions and making more Dementia Friends in the new academic year.

    2016 - First Quarter Update

    Our first member of staff has become a Dementia Friends Champion and is in the process of setting up the first Dementia Friends information session for other staff.

  • Looking at our environment in a bid to become a dementia friendly arts venue.

    Following an assessment of our facilities and environment by volunteers from the community living with dementia, we have considered the audit report and identifed what could be practically done to make our venue more dementia friendly. Some of the changes will be made over a longer period of time. This is an ongoing action requiring regular review.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2018 - Third Quarter Update

    Following two reports generated from our Dementia Friendly audit in September 2016, we have continued to look at what we can realistically implement in our venue. Colleagues at Food on Campus, who run our cafe outlet, have made some changes to operations that have made our refreshment outlet more Dementia Friendly. We are in the process of considering whether we can take part in a new Age Friendly campaign. It would mean implimenting a small change to our foyer area and would compliment our Dementia Friendly work.

    2017 - First Quarter Update

    Following two reports generated from our Dementia Friendly audit in September, we have been looking at what we can realistically implement in our venue. We have met with Estates colleagues and are waiting to hear as to whether funding can be allocated to implement some of our desired changes to public spaces in the Centre. In the meantime, colleagues at Food on Campus, who run our cafe outlet, have been working on some changes to operations that will make our refreshment outlet more Dementia Friendly. We hope to see these changes and additions in place before the next relaxed performance takes place in June 2017.

    2016 - Fourth Quarter Update

    Since conducting our Dementia Friendly audit in September, we have been looking at what we can realistically implement in our venue. The results of the audit report have been considered by the management team. We have a stratgey in place as to what can be done in the short term and what will be more long term goals. Much of the audit was really useful in the planning and delivery of our first ever relaxed performance. We hope that we will be able to implement further changes to make us more Dementia Friendly in 2017. This will involve some funding applications to support the work. Our fingers are crossed for a successful outcome!

    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    On the 15th September 2016 Dr Joy Watson and her husband Tony were kind enough to visit the MHC and carry out a Dementia Friendly audit. The results of that audit have now been drawn up in a report and the report is being considered by the management team. We hope that we will be able to implement certain changes to make us more Dementia Friendly before the end of 2016.

    2016 - Second Quarter Update

    We have been in touch with other arts venues that are celebrated as being Dementia Friendly. We have been finding out more about what they have done and/or are doing to make their environments more DF. We plan to learn more from these venues and then to put together an action plan for us to deliver. We are also still in the process of following up volunteers to visit our Centre, to give us some bespoke advice.

  • Looking at our events and events programme in a bid to become a dementia friendly arts venue.

    For us to have considered how we might make some of our current events more dementia friendly; and to have implemented the inclusion of some dementia friendly events in our seasonal events programmes. This could include events or activities that raise awareness of dementia, as well as being inclusive for those living with dementia and their carers. These are goals which now split between short term i.e. to carry out plans for 2018/19; and longer term, where we would like to see ideas come to fruition within our 2019/20 season.

    Status:
    Delivery

    2018 - Third Quarter Update

    We have held a total of 4 Relaxed performances since Dec 2016. These have been very well attended and have had some fabulous feedback. All the constructive comments from individual performances have been evaluated and turned into actions to inform the next event. However, now that we have enough data, we feel it is time to conduct a full debrief as to the over all way we run these events. We want to spefically look at how we can better engage with our potential older audiences. We also want to establish if we are meeting our objectives or if we can change our offer to make ourselves more inclusive and accessible.

    Discussions continue with potential collaborative partners with regard to some potential future events. Some of these have come out of participation in the Age Friendly Manchester Cutlure Working Group. The chance to meet other arts organisations working towards similar goals has been invaluable.

    In 2017/18, the University of Manchester Music students have performed for Chorlton and Didsbury Good Neighbours; and for patients on the Dementia wards at the MRI. We hope this community outreach work will continue.

    2017 - First Quarter Update

    Following our first ever relaxed performance in December 2016 - a "Sing-along a Christmas carol concert", colleagues have been analysing the evaluation data to see how successful the initiative was and to determine what changes could be made to create even better similar events in the future. The presentation of the analysis was scheduled for the 23rd March 2017. Objectives for future events and programming will be developed from the outcomes of this session. Most importantly, it will feed into plans for our next relaxed performance, which is scheduled for June 2017.

    Discussions continue with potential collaborative partners with regard to some potential future events. We hope this will generate some activity for Dementia Awareness Week 2017; and also projects linked to Dementia and Aging that might involve some of our students, scheduled for summer 2017.

    In 2017, the University of Manchester Music students have performed for Chorlton and Didsbury Good Neighbours. We hope this community outreach work will continue.

    2016 - Fourth Quarter Update

    On Friday 16th December we held our first ever relaxed performance - a "Sing-along a Christmas carol concert". It was our first inclusive event and in attendance were a real mix of the community, from groups and schools to University staff and individual visitors. Amongst our audience were some dementia support groups, parents and babies, families with toddlers, students with Autism, Aspergers and other communication disorders and also people with various disabilties. Many of them brought with them percussive instruments to join in and also an amazing array of festive wear, including a turkey hat! We couldn't have asked for more festive spirit! The feedback from the event has been incredibly positive and the event itself was really moving. (There are photos on our Facebook page.) We will certainly be holding more of these types of event in the future, as there is certainly demand for them...and they are a real joy!

    Following our programming meeting on the 3rd October, we are now pursuing some ideas with potential collaborative partners which will hopefully result in some specific events in 2017 that raise awareness of issues with aging and dementia.

    The University of Manchester Music students have made several visits to the MRI to perform to those living with dementia in hospital. In 2017 they will be looking to contiune this work in some care homes, some dementia support groups and also with Manchester Museum.

    2016 - Third Quarter Update

    We have scheduled a relaxed performance "Sing-along a Christmas carol concert" for the 16th December 2016. This will be our first inclusive event and we will be inviting specific community groups to attend. This will include some dementia support groups. We are in the planning stages at the moment and are starting work on the marketing campaign.

    We are due to have our next programming meeting on the 3rd October, where we will be looking at potential events for 2017. We hope that these will include some specific events that raise awareness of issues with aging and dementia.

    We are making introductions between some of the University of Manchester Music students and contacts at the MRI and elsewhere in the community, to see what collaborations might be possible. Our hope is to take performances out into the community, particularly to those living with dementia in hospital or in care homes.

    2016 - Second Quarter Update

    We have joined the Age Friendly Manchester Cultural Offer Group in order to learn from and collaborate with other Manchester and NW Arts venues on Dementia Friendly and Age Friendly projects.

    We have begun to investigate what other venues have done to deliver relaxed performances and we hope to hold one of our own before Christmas 2016.

    We have begun attending performances in other venues that raise awareness of issues with aging and dementia.  We are hoping to identify possible events we might like to include in our Spring/Summer 2017 programme.

    2016 - First Quarter Update

    We're currently following up various contacts in order to work on collaborative projects, to gain information and to get advice relating to this area. Some of these are within the University of Manchester, research programmes etc.. Others are outside organistaions and individuals. We're hoping to get some community input to help with this too.